Women's History Month - Elizabeth Blackwell

The first woman to receive a medical degree in the US.

Queen Ranavalona III of Madagascar

The last Ruler of Madagascar.

She's Crafty - Microscopic Edition!

Some really cool science inspired crafts!

Happy Birthday - Septima Poinsette Clark

The "Queen Mother" or "Grandmother of the American Civil Rights Movement."

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Music Break - Karen O.

I'm traveling this week, visiting a friend's parents in Arizona, which is quite nice. It's like a mini vacation, with lots of relaxing afternoons of just sitting and chatting. On the trip driving through the desert, we had to rely on my very limited supply of music on my phone. Which is not much. But, one of my favorites is on there: The Where the Wild Things Are Soundtrack.

Monday, November 10, 2014

TV Night - Madam Secretary

Over the last few days I have been busily catching up on my TV watching from a couple of weeks. In particular, I have been a bit behind on Madam Secretary, which is one of my favorites from this season. It's not perfect -- it's a bit hokey, in that the crisis always gets resolved by the end of the show, and there's some second tier romance drama -- but overall it's quite a good show.

And, to be honest, I'd still watch it even if it was terrible, just to see Téa Leoni as Secretary of State. I just adore her in this role. Strong, smart, kickass, calm, and totally together except when she's not.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Question of the Day

What's your idea of a perfect autumn afternoon?

I'm feeling nostalgic for what I think of as 'real autumn' from when I lived in Michigan many years ago. I loved wrapping up in warm jackets and crunching through the leaves. And visiting apple cider mills for a cup of warm, delicious cider and a soft, fresh cake donut.

Autumn in Northern California is nice, but feels a lot like slightly cooler summer. It's still sunny, and sweaters aren't needed yet. Heck, I'm kinda jealous of all the pictures folks are sharing of their fancy socks. I'm still in sandals.

But I'm looking forward to cooler temps when snuggling up in a warm blanket with a cup of tea and a good book is a viable option for a lazy afternoon.

What about you?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Clara Sherman

Clara Nezbah Gould Sherman (February 18, 1914 – July 31, 2010) was a renown Navajo weaver who was instrumental in the development of the Toadlena/Two Grey Hills style rug.
"When you weave, everything comes back to you and you feel fresh again."
Clara grew up herding sheep and cattle, and raising corn and watermelons, often working side by side with one of her sisters, Yazzie Blackhorse. The two would often herd sheep, and pick up the bits of wool that would catch on the barbed wire fences. In defiance of their mother, who didn't think they were ready to learn how to weave, the two built a secret loom in a dry arroyo, and taught themselves.
"When we would herd sheep, the wool would stick to the barbed wire when the sheep passed through the fences. Yazzie told me to hide the wool carders under my coat and go out. At the time we were herdin' sheep over there at the place where I was born. We would card our wool over there in secret. And the same thing we did was hide a spindle from my [older] sister. She didn't know that we used it. And my sister [Yazzie] already know how and she taught me how to spin. We put up a rug like this size [approximately two feet high] on those bushes, and we covered it up so no one would know."
source: Convocations: Indian Arts Research Center

What sets her region's rugs apart from other Navajo rug designs in the reliance on colors that occur naturally in sheep's wool. While other Navajo weavers make dazzling rugs from brilliant reds and blues, the Toadlena-Two Grey Hills weavers work with the colors the sheep provide naturally.
As the weavings of the Toadlena-Two Grey Hills have become more and more renowned for their quality and artistry, the weavings have become finer, and more intricate and precise, including an emphasis on the evenness of color. Through the years and generations, these qualities have won these weavers top prizes and escalating prices. But sheep's pelts are unevenly bleached by the sun, and from one year to the next, a sheep's wool is different. For the master weaver with her own herd, the mind boggles at the complex considerations from preparing the wool, envisioning the elaborate designs, and weaving it through every season's change of humidity. Unlike modern pilots or surgeons, these weavers do not work from checklists to make sure they have the exact length of each handspun and blended color they will need.
source: Art of Outside: Exhibition of weaving shows timeless dynamic
In 2004, at the age of 90, Clara won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts. And in 2006, she was awarded the New Mexico Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Kickstart This!

Hello again! Here's your list of great crowd-funding projects that need some extra attention!

Latino/a Rising is the first collection of U.S. Latin@ science fiction, fantasy, and other speculative genres. Matthew David Goodwin has worked tirelessly to bring together the writings and artwork by Latin@ artists to create this fantastic anthology.
U.S. Latinos/as have a long history of using speculative fiction to confront issues of social oppression and to express the hope for a better future. We can look back, for example, to the farm worker movement and Luis Valdez’s play “Los Vendidos” where Mexican and Chicano/a figures are represented by robots.

It is in this tradition that this project is being developed through the effort of a large and diverse community. In addition to this Kickstarter Campaign, we will rely on grants and donations from Latino/a community organizations, universities, and foundations. Once the book is published we will offer to hold book readings at the various institutions that were involved.

Exiles, is a series of trans-themed comics by Christianne Benedict and Rachel K. Zall, previously published online, but finally collected into one place, and in print!
It's the expression of our experiences from our own mouths and hands and it enables us to define ourselves without the imposition of the norms of a majority that does not share those experiences. Indeed, art from our hands can educate that majority. Additionally, I believe that it is beholden upon us to create an economy of our own as a counterbalance to the economic iniquities many of us experience in late capitalism. This is, admittedly, also self-interested.

Hey! RPGers! Check it out! The Ruined Empire, an anime-inspired RPG campaign by Anna Kreider, is a system-neutral campaign setting and source book set in a land of five nations in conflict, ripe with adventure and danger.
I wrote the original setting for Andy Kitkowski back in 2012 as a backer reward for the Kickstarter of the English translation of Tenra Bansho Zero. Originally, this was done as work-for-hire, which meant that I got paid for my work and Andy was to retain the rights for future publication. The original intent had been to get this illustrated and published as an official Tenra supplement. However, for a variety of reasons, that fell through until now.

This campaign is to fund an expanded version of that original campaign setting. Ruined Empire was originally written to be used with the Tenra Bansho Zero system, but the setting itself is a pretty accessible mashup of common anime tropes and Final Fantasy-inspired themes, and would work well with a variety of game systems.

Feminist Apparel is trying to keep misogyny off the shelves with their line of pro-feminist clothing.
We hold the idea that you can be a feminist if you believe in and act on equality. Men, women, and people who say no to the gender binary are all welcome to the movement. That’s why we create clothing that ranges from XS-5XL, cover issues ranging from street harassment to gender stereotypes, and feature designs from our Feminist Creatives community that give up-and-coming feminist designers an outlet to share their work and get paid for it. There’s no reason that equality should be unpopular. Purchase a t-shirt, tell your friends about it, and in doing so, know that you’re doing a valuable service by calling out sexism in your community and creating an inclusive movement toward equality.

I absolutely love this Notable Women in Computing Card Deck by Jessica Dickinson Goodman.
Women in this card deck were selected after receiving multiple, high-level awards from more than one institution, such as being named an ACM Fellow, IEEE Fellow, and receiving the Turing Award. Our deck also seeks to portray the true diversity of women in computing both current and historical, showcasing professionals from a variety of nations, backgrounds, gender identities, orientations and abilities. There are a dozen or more different groupings of notable women we could have turned into this deck; you can make your own using the instructions at the bottom of this page.

Birthing Justice: Black Women, Pregnancy and Childbirth is a powerful book that digs beneath the surface of the statistics surrounding pregnancy- and birth-related deaths in the black community. In turns heartbreaking and inspirational, this powerful anthology will transform forever the way you think about childbirth, with over 20 black women sharing deeply moving stories about giving birth and childbirth activism.
The money pledged will be used to fund the reproduction of high quality color photographs of quilt squares dedicated to black women who died of pregnancy-related causes in the book. The pieces were created by family members and volunteers for the Safe Motherhood Quilt, to keep alive the memory of their loved ones. Our small social justice-oriented publisher cannot afford the cost of color reproduction but we want to honor the women by reproducing the images as they were meant to be seen. If enough funds are received, we will also be able to promote the book through a nationwide book-tour.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Joinin' in on the Bloglovin'

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

In an effort to reach as many potential readers as possible, I'm spreading the lovin'... the blog lovin' that is!

Are you on Bloglovin'? Or do you use another method of tracking your favorite blogs? RSS? Feedly? Something I haven't heard of yet? Please leave a note in the comments letting me know how you found SRPS!